It’s been yet another disappointment for the Los Angeles Angels, as the Halos are currently 66-67, 8.5 games back of an AL Wild Card spot. The Angels are set to miss the postseason for the seventh season in a row. Not only are they wasting Mike Trout’s prime, but Shohei Ohtani’s talent is being squandered away as well.
Ohtani has gone off in 2021, leading the entire MLB in home runs and slugging percentage. By the end of the season, it will be either the Japanese phenom or Vladimir Guerrero Jr taking away American League MVP honours. Currently, Ohtani is the frontrunner.
Some will say that if it wasn’t for Mike Trout getting injured and missing the majority of this season, the Halos would be right in the playoff chase. As far as I’m concerned, until the Angels figure out their starting rotation, they aren’t a postseason team. Even with a healthy batting order consisting of Ohtani, Trout, and Anthony Rendon at the beginning of the year, Los Angeles was inconsistent and you never felt they had any chance at going up against Houston in the AL West.
Next season, that can all change. Veteran outfielder Dexter Fowler’s massive contract expires, and LA already has his replacement in top outfield prospect Jo Adell. The 22-year-old has shown signs of putting it all together this past month, after being one of the worst hitters in the Major Leagues last season.
Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy will also file for arbitration in the offseason, and you can absolutely bank on the Angels moving on from the right-hander. Bundy has been abysmal in 2021, sporting a 2-9 record and an ERA over 6.00. Left-hander Jose Quintana also won’t be re-signed, considering the southpaw was a disaster in his first season with the Halos and was recently claimed off waivers with the Giants. That will free up more than $15 million in salary alone between those two below average arms.
And of course, you can’t forget about Albert Pujols’ contract coming off the books. Pujols 10-year, $240 million dollar contract comes to an end in the fall, and that alone is going to give Angels GM Billy Eppler enough dough to go out and get themselves an ace.
Shohei Ohtani is the Angels best pitcher right now, and will certainly get Cy Young votes. But after that, the Angels rotation essentially falls off a cliff. Alex Cobb is a nice veteran option, but it’s unknown if the Halos will want to re-sign him in free agency, especially when there are going to be a ton of bigger fish available.
Some of those big names include Cy Young winners Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Robbie Ray, and Zack Greinke.
Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Carlos Rodon, and Noah Syndergaard are also free agents, and the Angels should be big players for at least two of the eight names I just mentioned.
With a rotation consisting of, say, Scherzer, Syndergaard, and Ohtani, the Angels would suddenly have one of the best rotations in not only the American League, but all of baseball
Look for the Angels to improve at shortstop as well. One of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story could realistically be dawning a Halos uniform in 2022.
The Angels already have a really impressive closer in Rafael Iglesias, and Joe Maddon’s team would be an instant World Series contender that wouldn’t have any excuses to go by in 2022.
Mike Trout only has one career hit in the postseason, and that’s not his fault. He deserves better, Angels fans deserve better, and time is running out. It’s go time.